Businesses are migrating massive amounts of data to cloud environments. This often includes cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environments such as Google G Suite. Cloud migration obviously involves putting your data into a cloud environment. However, what if you want or need to export data out of the environment?
What tools do you use? How do you go about doing this? In this post, we will take a look at the best G Suite data export tools and see how these can be used to get data out of your G Suite environment. What native tools are available? First, let’s see what business reasons may drive G Suite data exports.
Data Export from G Suite may be required
You may wonder, why would I want to export data out of G Suite? Isn’t the purpose of a migration to cloud to put your data into the cloud and not take it out? This is certainly true. Cloud migration takes data that generally exists on-premises and copies or moves it to the G Suite cloud environment.
However, there may be reasons that arise where you are required to perform a data export from G Suite. What are some of these use cases that may prompt exporting data outside of G Suite? There are a few common reasons that may come up which may prompt the export of data from G Suite. These may include:
- Downsizing data footprint
- Data locality
- Long-term data archival
- Legal reasons
Downsizing data footprint
This reason may be a little less common since cloud storage is basically unlimited and cloud data offerings these days are fairly vast within the normal pricing tiers of most services. There may still be cases where organizations need to downsize the data footprint in a particular account or simply choose to get rid of certain data or data types in G Suite.
For this reason, it may be that data is exported from G Suite and then removed from the environment once the data export is successfully completed. Exporting data back out of G Suite allows this data to be potentially stored elsewhere or simply archived to disk, on-premises.
Due to various compliance regulations such as GDPR and others, organizations today must pay close attention to data locality. There can be various regulatory requirements that mandate where data is stored. This often involves a particular region of the world where data storage is either allowed or disallowed.
If your organization finds that data sitting out in a particular G Suite cloud region is in violation of compliance regulations, it may be necessary to export data out of G Suite. It may be exported to an on-premises environment in a compliant region or to a different cloud data center.
Long-term data archival
Another reason that organizations may find themselves in need of exporting data from G Suite is long-term data archival. Due to various business requirements, data may need to be archived to long-term archival storage. There may be business reasons requiring the data to be archived to a particular location. This will require the data to be first exported from the G Suite cloud so it can be written to long-term storage.
Back in the old days, where businesses had paper copies and filing cabinets full of documents, courts would have businesses provide these as part of the information gathering needed for litigation. However, today, most businesses are carrying out the “business” side of things almost exclusively digitally. This may include electronic files, images, spreadsheets, documents, invoices, and other types of electronic information.
On top of converting to electronic means to store important business records and information, organizations are making use of public cloud environments for storing information. This adds an additional layer of complexity when it comes to being able to provide data for legal reasons.
When it comes to legal requests, your organization may receive a request for production of data from a single account or multiple accounts that may exist in your G Suite environment. The data may be emails contained in Gmail, files contained in Google Drive, or data in another G Suite system.
G Suite Data Export Tools
Google has native tools in G Suite to perform data exports from your G Suite environment. This is called the Data Exports tool. With Data Exports, G Suite administrators can export data from what is described as Google Workspace Core Services. As outlined in the Google Workspace Admin Help guide for data export, data can be exported from the following:
- Calendar, Cloud Search, Gmail, Groups, Keep, Reminders, and Tasks
With the Google Data Export tool, G Suite administrators can export data from G Suite user accounts in the core services that are mentioned above. There are some definite limitations and “gotchas” to note with the Google Data Export tools.
- Data has to be held in the account for 30 days or more
- Data export can take anywhere from 72 hours to 14 days depending on the export size
- Data has to be exported for all users in the G Suite domain
- User’s data can only be exported once within 30 days
- You can’t specify the type of data to export
- To perform an additional export, you have to contact Google support to reset the time limit from the 30 days
- There is no option for a particular version of the data
- Proprietary formats
As you can see, the built-in Data Export tool that can be used by G Suite administrators has many limiting factors that will certainly limit your organization’s ability to export data in a timely manner. As noted, even if you only need to export data from one account, all user data must be exported.
Another hurdle with the data export feature with Google data exports is the use of non-standard formats such as the .mbox format for Gmail exports. Once you download the archive, you will still have to convert this and import it into a utility that understands the format and allows you to read the data, such as back into Gmail. However, there are no migration features to move from one account to another.
Google offers another service called Google Takeout that allows individual G Suite users to download their own data. Users can export and download most of the data from services they have access to with G Suite, including:
- Calendar, Drive, Photos, Groups, Hangouts, Keep, and many others
If there is a particular type of service or data that a user finds they cannot export, Google does offer the opportunity to submit a Data Access Request Form. Using the form, if there are specific categories of personal data which a user believes is not available using the provided tools, this can be submitted to Google as a request.
Using Google Takeout, end users are subject to the same wide range of time estimations from Google to receive the data. It could be anywhere from hours to days. Also, using the export capabilities provided, the data export is first generated as an archive file. Once the archive has been generated, the file then has to be downloaded which most likely will take additional time.
Built-in data export tools are limiting
When you take a step back and evaluate the limitations of the built-in tools that Google provides for data export, it is a bit eye-opening. The default tools do provide some degree of data export capabilities. However, the limitations of the solutions most likely will outweigh the capabilities provided. Long timeframes to get access to your data, limits on how many exports you can generate, as well as file formats that present challenges.
Waiting for days to get your data using the Data Export tool and having to export literally all data in G Suite simply to export a specific portion of the data is most likely not going to work for most businesses. Additionally, end users have the ability to export their data but there is no way to control this from the admin side of things.
If your business is in a time-sensitive situation such as providing information for a legal case, waiting for days for your data or having to export the entire data set will not be acceptable. Let’s take a look at a tool that effectively backs up your data as well as provides many different options to quickly and easily export data from G Suite.
Best G Suite data export tool
When it comes to the best G Suite data export tool, you want to use something that is more capable and powerful than the built-in G Suite data export tools. While the G Suite Data Export tool and Google Takeout can work for certain use cases, they fall short when it comes to time, granularity, versions, ease of use, and efficiency.
SpinBackup is an enterprise backup solution for Google G Suite that provides protection for your business-critical data located in the G Suite SaaS service. It provides enterprise backup features for G Suite that allow organizations to not only protect data but also extract and download data as needed.
SpinBackup for G Suite provides the following features for protecting your G Suite environment:
- Store backups in the cloud of your choosing, including AWS, GCP, Azure, or custom cloud environment
- Perform 100% accurate recovery of your data
- Data migration & downloads
- Searchable backups with granular reporting
- SOC 2, EU Privacy Shield, and GDPR compliance
- Automatic backups
- Backup encryption
Using SpinBackup for G Suite, organizations can easily perform G Suite data exports of data located in the environment and easily provide specific data as needed for any use case. Take note of the following SpinBackup data export features.
- Export data as many times as needed
- Download data from any G Suite account
- Download any version of the data needed
- Allows taking charge of your data without waiting for Google timelines or administrative requests
- Keep unlimited versions of data as needed by the business
When it comes to your business data as it exists in G Suite, you want to have the ability to export the data at any time, when needed. The built-in data export features in G Suite provide only basic functionality and may mean waiting days to receive the data you need.
With the data export and migration features that are provided in SpinBackup, data can either be downloaded or even be migrated to a different account that can be used for accessing requested data for litigation purposes. The flexibility and capabilities to control your data mean that when time is of the essence, you can have quick and efficient access to your G Suite data.
Learn more about the features provided by SpinBackup for G Suite here.